Press Release: Many Lessons Still To Be Learned

MANY LESSONS STILL TO BE LEARNED
HILLIER CALLS ON MINISTER, UNIONS, AND SCHOOL BOARDS, TO DO BETTER

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Critical Propane Shortage: Hillier Calls On PM, Premier, Not To Leave Ontario Out In The Cold

(QUEEN’S PARK) Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston independent MPP Randy Hillier has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and demanded that action be taken to avert an impending province-wide propane shortage as we head into what is predicted to be one of the coldest winters in recent memory.

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Fall Economic Statement Ushers in a New Era

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15th, 2018


(QUEEN’S PARK) Ontario’s Government for the People is putting more money back in people’s pockets in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston by introducing one of the most generous tax cuts for low-income workers in a generation – the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit (LIFT).

Those who earn $30,000 or less would pay zero personal income tax on their 2019 tax returns. It represents up to $850 per person and up to $1,700 per couple in savings.

“This tax cut will leave more money in the pockets of families and taxpayers,” said Hillier. “I’m proud to be part of a government that is putting people, not the government, at the heart of their fiscal plans.”

The Government’s Fall Economic Statement laid out the government's economic plans which have already included $3.2 billion in savings from efficiencies which paved the way for $2.7 billion in tax savings for people and businesses throughout the province. This also allowed the government to shave down the deficit by $500 million, putting the province back on track to fiscal health.

“The future's looking brighter than ever, we are cutting costs without reducing front-line service jobs, addressing the deficit and debt while supporting job growth in high paying industries such as the skilled trades,” explained Hillier.

“We’re bringing back the prosperous Ontario we all know and love, and it’s clear to everyone that Ontario is open for business,” proclaimed Hillier.

You can view Minister Friedli's speech here and view the Fall Economic Statement in full here.

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Contact: Perth Office 613-267- 8239
Queen’s Park 416-325- 2244
[email protected]

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Persistence Pays Off: Ontario Open for Busines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24th, 2018

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) The Ontario Government has unveiled a bill which, if passed, will take much-needed steps to help Ontario businesses stay competitive and boost their ability to create more, better-paying jobs. Many of the changes the government outlined can be traced back to a number of MPP Hillier’s  Private Members Bills introduced in previous sessions as well as his 2011 White Paper on labour reforms. These include ending card based certification for industries captured in the previous government’s legislation, enabling 1:1 ratios for all apprenticeship positions, and restoring secret ballots for union certifications.

"This has been long overdue, I have been advocating for these changes for a number of years now, and it's great to finally have a government that understands and cares about young people entering the skilled trades," said Hillier. "A number of these changes have long been sought after by both employers and those seeking to enter into the trades,” explained Hillier.

The bill aims to reduce red-tape for all businesses, but has a specific set of reforms aimed at the skilled trades. Many in the industry have been raising the alarm over the lack of new apprentice entering into the skilled trades and how this widening skills gap is keeping Ontario from meeting its economic potential. The bill will now allow for a greater number of apprenticeship positions to open up in shops across the province, providing additional opportunities for women and men across Ontario to gain lifelong, meaningful employment.

Along with giving the skilled trades a much-needed boost, this bill will reverse a raft of hastily thrown together changes the previous government enacted that many in the industry saw as a last-ditch election effort. "I spoke with the different Chambers of Commerce and many businesses throughout my riding when the previous government rolled out their reforms and many admitted they would have to cut jobs just to stay afloat," Hillier explained. "These changes will help businesses stay competitive so they can thrive and create more, better-paying jobs," said Hillier.

“These efforts will help us address the skills gap in the trades, provide a steady supply of good paying jobs and supply employers with a great pool of talented skilled workers to choose from; this is a win for all involved.”

You can view the full bill, including changes to the minimum wage and vacation enhancements, here once published by the Legislature.

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Contact: Perth Office 613-267- 8239
Queen’s Park 416-325- 2244
[email protected]

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Long Overdue Long-Term Care Beds Added to Region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3rd, 2018


(QUEEN’S PARK) MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston) is pleased to announce the allocation of 82 long-term care beds in the riding as part of the PC government's plan to bring an end to the province’s hallway health care crisis. These are the first new beds for the region in over a decade and come as part of an announced immediate allocation of 6000 new LTC beds province wide.

“I'm very pleased to see our government move quickly to address this very long-standing issue,” proclaimed Hillier. “In my 11 years as an MPP the previous Liberal government didn’t build a single new long-term care bed in the region despite a growing backlog, so it's great to finally see real tangible results and action on an issue that matters and makes a difference for my constituents.”

This move will allow acute care patients to move into more appropriate facilities with the addition of 82 new beds in Almonte and Carleton Place, helping reduce wait times and overcrowding in our hospitals while providing the proper environment for long-term care patients to receive the services they need and deserve.

“It’s clear that this government actually puts actions to its words,” said Hillier. “This is just the first step towards fulfilling our commitment to create thousands of additional long-term care beds across the province and the region. I’m looking forward to announcing additional developments as they unfold.”

The 6000 new beds being allocated province wide represent the first steps towards an announced allocation of 15,000 new long-term care beds to Ontario's health care system over the next five years.


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Contact: Perth Office 613-267- 8239
Queen’s Park 416-325- 2244
[email protected]

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Wynne Budget 2018: Our Kids Can Pay for Everything

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29th 2018

 

(PERTH) MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington) came out strong against Premier Kathleen Wynne’s budget, announced in the Legislature Wednesday.

“This is contemptible,” said Hillier. “We are mortgaging our children and grandchildren’s futures to pay for her re-election. This Premier is putting us further in debt, paying to fix problems she and her predecessor created.”

“Only this government could come up with a plan to have today’s children pay for their own daycare when they become adults- and with interest,” Hillier continued. “Servicing the debt is the third largest expenditure under this government, after health care and education. To compound that, with interest, and ask future generations of workers to foot the bill, is unconscionable.”

“There are admirable proposals,  but tax deductions for families bearing those costs would provide a greater benefit today than amortizing those same children’s futures...plus there’s no guarantee we will ever see them happen; they’ve been promising this daycare program since 2003, and we’ve yet to see it happen.

Most of the budget promises won’t be implemented before 2020, if ever at all, but the deficit and accumulated debt would begin immediately. “Kathleen Wynne has made all of these promises in the past, and then called them ‘stretch goals’ when she failed to deliver,” Hillier recalled.

Ontario’s accumulated debt from 1867 to 2003 (136 years) was $132 billion. Since 2003, in just 15 short years, the Liberals have more than doubled that debt to $312 billion. Wednesday’s budget will drive it past $325 billion.

“We cannot continue on this path,” adds Hillier. “We need to do a better job, and it is clear that is not going to happen under the current administration; it is time for a new plan that respects those paying the bills, and helps those who need help the most.”

“This government has had 15 years to get it right; what we saw yesterday was an admission of guilt, like a promise they wouldn’t hurt us anymore. I am not buying it, and nor should the people of Ontario,” Hillier concluded.

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Contact:

Queen’s Park 416-325-2244

Perth 613-267-8239

[email protected]

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Workplace Injuries Create Duplicity at WSIB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26th, 2018

WORKPLACE INJURIES CREATE DUPLICITY AT WSIB


(QUEEN’S PARK) Today, MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington) demanded answers from the Minister of Labour as to why the WSIB was circumventing their mandate by claiming injured workers were both suffering from, and free of, pre-existing medical conditions, in order to avoid providing support to both employees and employers.

“I have two cases in front of me right now from constituents that have glaring examples of discrepancies by the WSIB, resulting in a denial of support,” explained Hillier. “Both stories involve workers applying for and being denied coverage by the WSIB because they have a pre-existing condition, while their employers were simultaneously denied Second Injury Enhancement Fund support because the WSIB claimed there was no pre-existing injury of their employees.”

The WSIB is mandated to protect and support injured workers, as well as to assist employers in the event that a workers injuries were the result of a pre-existing medical issue. These stories bring to light inconsistent rulings by the WSIB which give contradictory information to both the employer and employee, while also denying both parties support.

“It is obvious that this isn’t just an isolated bureaucratic mix-up. The WSIB is frustrating those they are meant to support by sending false information to either employees or employers as justification for denying claims,” said Hillier. “What I want to know now is who exactly is being duplicitous, the Minister or the Bureaucracy?”

You can watch MPP Hillier’s question to the Minister of Labour on this issue here.

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Contact: Perth Office 613-267-8239
Queen’s Park 416-325- 2244
[email protected]

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Letter to Mississippi Mills Council on Natural Heritage System Proposal

The following letter was sent to the municipal Council of Mississippi Mills regarding the proposed implementation of a Natural Heritage System in their official plan. In it I provide some brief clarification as to the extent such a system is imposed by the province, and outline some of the policy decisions left to the municipality.



Mississippi Mills Council
3131 Old Perth Rd
Almonte, ON
K0A1A0

December 7th, 2017

I have had the pleasure in speaking with many residents of Mississippi Mills recently regarding the proposed amendments to the Official Plan. In addition, Mayor McLaughlin and I have also spoken at length regarding the obligations to designate Natural Heritage Systems (NHS) in the Official Plan.

From these many discussions it became evident that there is a level of misunderstanding regarding what is mandated by the province and what is not mandated for the establishment of a Natural Heritage System in the municipality of Mississippi Mills.

The following is some relevant context and clarification to council and residents regarding the provincial obligations under the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) as they pertain to the establishment of a NHS. I believe this information is important to communicate to not only council, but to the general public as well, so that both can accurately understand what scope of the NHS plan is mandated by the province, and what is voluntarily implemented by the municipality.

First and foremost, it is important to remind municipal policy makers that the purpose of PPS is to establish guidelines for development and the promotion of development[1]. While the document covers a wide range of topics, development remains of central importance to the policies contained within it, and although environmental protection is one aspect of the PPS, it in no way infers an obligation to develop policy with an “environment first” focus above other considerations. Any decision to adopt such a focus would be a municipal decision and not a provincial obligation.

Furthermore, the 2014 PPS requires that a NHS only has to be identified in ecoregions E6 and E7 of the province[2]. The municipality sits on the border of ecoregion E5 and E6, which runs between the southeast to the northwest of the jurisdiction. A large portion of the property designated in the official plan as a NHS is not required to be designated as such under the PPS as it falls within the boundaries of ecoregion E5, and as such many of the policies put forward in the municipal plan are not provincially mandated for that area. I believe it is important to take these map boundaries and land classifications in to consideration when understanding what obligations actually exist for the municipality as a whole. I have attached a basic overlay of the ecoregion boundaries on top of your NHS proposal map to this letter for clarification.

While the PPS requires that an NHS must be identified in the section of the municipality within ecoregion E6, and development or site alteration in that NHS area cannot take place without an environmental assessment [3] indicating there is no negative impact on the core ecological function of the site, there is no obligation in the PPS that sets out limits on specific types of development or site use. Any establishment of specific “permitted uses” within a municipal plan is done at the municipality’s discretion and is not presented as a specific obligation by the province. Similar discretion is also provided for the identification of “adjacent lands” in relation to the NHS. Nowhere in the PPS does the government impose specific metrics regarding what constitutes adjacent lands, and any identification of specific measurements or criteria is the decision of the municipality alone. In addition, any EIS requirement in relation to the NHS on property that is not within the NHS or classified as “adjacent land” is a policy implemented by the municipality, and is outside the obligations required by the province.

I hope these points of clarification will be valuable in the development and communication of your municipal development plans. While I have not touched on every potential detail of an NHS plan, it is important to recognize that there is substantial leeway and discretion for municipalities to determine specific details of the plan that are not otherwise mandated by the province. This is particularly relevant in the situation of Mississippi mills, where a large portion of the municipality is exempt from any and all NHS obligations.

If you have any further questions or need any further clarifications please feel free to reach out to my office. I would be pleased to provide council with a presentation and discussion on PPS requirements should you believe it would be beneficial.


Sincerely,

Randy Hillier

 
End notes:

  1. There is no provincial mandate regarding the exact metrics for establish criteria for adjacent lands. The proposed 120 meters setback can be implemented but there is no requirement for that specific distance.
  2. The schedule of defined permitted uses does not exempt these uses or developments from costly environmental assessments.
  3. Any development not identified in the schedule of permitted uses would be prohibited even when an environmental assessment indicates no detrimental effect or harm to the environment would be experienced.
  4. There is no requirement to include a schedule of permitted uses.
  5. “Environment First” approach is not required; can be removed, or altered such as “Balancing the need for development and growth with maintaining the environment” as an example.
  6. The present proposal permits and does not infringe upon most personal activities such as farming, forestry recreational uses etc. However, there are no guarantees that subsequent revisions or amendments to the PPS may impose greater restrictions on activities within lands designated as NHS.
  7. The present proposal identifies a substantial amount of land in the western half of the municipality (eco region 5E) as NHS designated lands. There is no statutory obligation or responsibility to do so.


[1] As indicated by the objective summary on the Provincial Policy Statement document directory at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page215.aspx, as well as in ‘Part I : Preamble” of  “Provincial Policy Statement” (2014)

[2] Section 2.1.3 of “Provincial Policy Statement” (2014)

[3] Sections 2.1.5 and 2.1.8 of “Provincial Policy Statement” (2014)

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Unwelcome Report Sure To Make Government Employees Uncomfortable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6th 2017

(PERTH) Randy Hillier, (Lanark Frontenac Lennox & Addington) expressed his dismay and concern over the Auditor General’s Annual Report condemning the Wynne Government’s maladministration of the province’s finances and casual disregard of their obligations.

“I have significant concern that the Auditor General may have exposed herself to a workplace harassment complaint with this report,” remarked Hillier. “According to some, the Occupational Health and Safety Act defines harassment as ‘a course of conduct and comment that was known or ought to have reasonably been known to have been unwelcome’; I am confident this report is unwelcome.”

Hillier goes on to point out that contrary to a letter he received from Tay Valley Township which incorrectly defines harassment as simply ‘unwelcomed comment or conduct’,  the OHSA specifically refers tovexatious comment or conduct”, with the definition of vexatious being defined in the context of harassment as ‘unsupported’ or ‘lacking sufficient grounds’. Despite the misquote of the Act in their letter to Hillier, the Township later issued a press release with the correct definition. “I guess the Auditor General is off the hook,” joked Hillier, “Despite being unwelcome, her report is not vexatious as it clearly delineates the deficiencies of this Premier and her Cabinet, as it was her responsibility to do.”

Hillier noted that it is the obligation of public officials such as the Auditor General and elected representatives to stand up for the public interest, even when doing so may be unwelcome.

Among the concerns, the AG pointed out that 41% of PET scan time goes unused by patients because the Ministry of Health simply hasn’t updated the guidelines on the use of PET scans. Despite having closed numerous rural schools this year and next, the AG determined that there hasn’t been a review of the School Board Funding Formula since the Liberals took power in 2003. Taxpayers own 812 pieces of unused, surplus property that cost $19 million a year to maintain and that the government has been unwilling to sell. Business electricity customers paid 12.3 billion in Global Adjustment fees, of which almost 30% of it went to renewable energy producers, despite the fact that they only produced 6% of our electricity. This list goes on.

“What we see here is a blatant disregard for the public purse and the well-being of the people of Ontario; instead we have a government that puts their patrons ahead of patients, their friends ahead of Ontario families, and power ahead of responsibility and accountability,” Hillier concluded.

The full report can be found here

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Contact:
Perth 613-267-8239
Queen’s Park 416-325-2244
[email protected]

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The Law Is Not Meant To Prevent Accountability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19th 2017

(QUEENS PARK) - Randy Hillier (MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington) is facing an allegation of workplace harassment initiated by the Council of the township of Tay Valley.

The allegation asserts that by bringing the concerns and complaints he’s received from his constituents to the attention of municipally elected representatives, he had violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Further, the allegation also asserts that his opinions on the proper application, interpretation, and enforcement of provincial laws were unwelcome by the complainants, and therefore constituted “workplace harassment.”

“It is my legal obligation to uphold the laws of Ontario and my mandated responsibility to provide advocacy and assistance to my constituents who have cause to feel the law is being unjustly applied against them or incorrectly interpreted to their detriment,” said Hillier. “While many provincial laws are administered and enforced by municipal employees, they remain provincial laws nonetheless, and it is fully under my jurisdiction and responsibility as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to provide advice on their application when justifiable concerns are brought to my attention.”

The OHSA defines workplace harassment as “Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in the workplace that is known or ought to be reasonably known as unwelcome.

“To suggest that my role as a representative for my constituents is a vexatious activity is simply ridiculous and beyond the pale,” Hillier added. “Any, indeed all criticism could be construed as unwelcome; if I used that as the guide in my advocacy not only would nothing ever get resolved, but it would lead to empowering arbitrary decision-making and unreasonable and oppressive governments. I brought my constituent’s concerns forward professionally and respectfully, and in the manner and context they were conveyed to me.”

“I find these actions of Tay Valley Council extremely disappointing. I will not be intimidated from representing my constituents on matters of provincial jurisdiction, and I cannot allow injustice to prevail because opposing it may hurt someone’s feelings,” Hillier concluded.

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Contact:
Queen’s Park 416-325-2244
Perth 613-267-8239
[email protected]

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